Seven years after the provincial government pledged over $230,000 towards the project, a new daycare facility serving residents of the Nicola Valley will be constructed in the coming weeks. While the finishing touches and licensing process will likely mean the Merritt Youth and Family Resource Society (MYFRS) won’t open its new childcare programs until June, locals will see the building completed in the coming days.
The new modular building, dubbed the Family Place Early Learning Centre, will be installed on February 27th by a contractor and a series of large equipment. MYFRS, a local organization already offering more limited childcare in their current location, said the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in building cost has delayed the project for a number of years.
“??After many challenges that we have encountered, we are moving forward again to having the 6-piece modular building arriving this month,” reads a press release by the non-profit.
“The building sections will be stored at two locations as it will take a few days to get the 15 x 76 large units to Merritt. On Feb 27th, the crane, which is the largest available in the region, will be set up to install the building pieces ,just like using lego pieces. This will take 2 days to piece the building together.”
The building will be located at 1914 Quilchena Avenue, where site preparations have been ongoing for more than a year. The programs offered at the completed Family Place Early Learning Centre will lessen the strain on parents struggling to find daycare options for their children amidst a province wide shortage. The centre will honour First Nations’ practice and the small-community belief that it takes a community to raise children, according to MYFRS.
The spaces at the daycare will be partially funded by the provincial government’s Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, created by the province in July 2018 as part of their childcare plan. The centre will include stroller parking, feature an outdoor garden for learning experiences, and MYFRS says it will be accessible with its central location in the downtown core. Despite the number of challenges they have encountered, MYFRS said their project won’t be stopped.
“Delays from covid shut down, threat of fires, evacuation of the flood, and jump in costs for materials and labor were not going to stop this much needed facility for the Nicola Valley,” added the release.
“There will be six program rooms which will provide 76 spots for childcare. Of these a strong focus is on infants & toddlers – 40 spots.”
For more information on the Merritt Youth and Family Resource Society, visit the organization’s website at www.merrittfamilyresources.com.